Thursday, 10 March 2011
Monday, 7 March 2011
Much has been written lately about beliefs. The whole idea that underlies many therapeutic approaches is that beliefs underpin our thought processes, our emotions and our behaviours. In fact, they underpin our view of the world, how we interpret it and how we behave within it. Within the therapeutic/coaching field this is a generally accepted 'belief', based on observation.
What is more difficult to grasp is that our beliefs directly influence how the world reflects back to us, especially when we interact with people. Whatever I believe a person's intent to be will determine my reaction. Lets say I am in a group and one of the people doesn't pay any attention to me. I react by thinking that this person doesn't like me. I may subsequently behave insecure, or cool, or I may try to make them like me. Then the person in question reacts. This reaction will of course be based on what she beleives. If she believes that I am a 'cool person' she may withdraw. If she believes that 'insecure' people are not worth knowing, she will avoid paying attention to me. Both reactions will re-enforce my belief that this person doesn't like me. And so we go on, acting and reacting based on our beliefs, which we haven't questioned.
The longer we go on acting and reacting from un-questioned beliefs -and the more the world re-enforces those beliefs- the more our brain interprets beliefs as truths. Interpreting beliefs as truths is the most fatal error we can make. It keeps us within limited boundaries and it undermines our power to change things.
It is vital to become aware of what we believe and how this influences our lives. The simplest way to create self-awareness is to pay attention to ABC :
A= Activating EventAfter doing this for a while you will fully understand that your beliefs are just beliefs, established for different reasons and at different times in your life. You will realise that they are neither absolute truths - even if they feel like it - nor universal laws and that you have the power to change them.
B =Belief about the Event
B =Belief about the Event
The outcome is a very special kind of freedom:
The freedom to chose beliefs that will enhance your life.
© 2011 Christa Mackinnon
Tuesday, 1 March 2011
How to Create a Ceremony
Not long ago I conducted a humanistic/spiritual wedding ceremony for a friend. She and her partner designed the ceremony together with me. We conducted it in her parents’ garden in front of her wedding guests. The wedding guest, at first very sceptical about this ‘weird and unusual way of exchanging vows’ were tangibly touched and enjoyed the experience. This reminded me how enchanting ceremonial work can be and I thought I’d share with you how to create a ceremony.
Friday, 25 February 2011
Have a Vision, not a Moan
I met an interesting man in Sri Lanka, just after the Tsunami. He was the founder of a small, local charity called 'Light a candle'. Their motto was: "Its better to light one candle than to moan about the darkness". We talked for a while and I realised that, like many of us, I have a tendency to waste my energy moaning about things instead of using my energy to create, or do something, that might change the things I moan about.
After thinking about this I understood how my brain works when it encounters something that I find unjust or unfair or outright horrendous. My first emotions are sadness or anger. Then I feel immediately powerless. What can I do? I am just one person without much influence. The powerlessness increases my anger. Its a well known psychological fact that if we can get really angry we can avoid feeling inadequate, helpless or powerless.
So, I moan. What else can I do? I am a person who doesn't just ignore the many heartbreaking happenings in the world. I have a good, angry moan and nothing changes, except that I might feel a bit better afterwards.
I have learned since to strive for 'having a vision instead of a moan'. That doesn't mean that I don't allow myself to be angry or sad about all kind of unjust and horrible events and situations, but I now really try to contribute, in my own, limited way to what needs changing.
I have also learned that if I wait for the 'big, big vision' I will never do anything. Visions don't have to be 'huge' and 'worldchanging'. Small ones do exactly the same as big ones: they propel us to act, to do something, to contribute to the change we want to see happening.
I don't have a foolproof recipe to 'create visions'. Nevertheless I know that the question 'what would I like to see instead of ... , followed by the question 'what is it that I can do to contribute?' produces the required result: actions instead of moans.
Copyright © 2011 Christa Mackinnon
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
How to Re-enchant our Lives
I read an article today about ‘enchantment’ and asked myself: can I actually remember the last time I was enchanted? Fortunately, I can. I was enchanted by the penguins in Antarctica; in fact I was enchanted by Antarctica – full stop. The sheer delight of being in this vast, white, quiet landscape with its bizarre, unreal formations of different coloured ice, its ever changing light and its charming inhabitants is still as vivid in my memory as if I had experienced it yesterday. The idea of being ‘without a personal history’ took on a new meaning. In fact, the idea of ‘just being’ suddenly became very tangible. With nothing around, except ice and snow, untouched by human activities and structures, one slides into a meditative space, effortlessly and naturally. The sensory perception expands, although there is not much going on - or may be because there isn’t much going on -and a deep sense of being connected to what is around us develops dramatically.
When reflecting upon this subject, I wondered if we are condemned to live in a less and less enchanting world. Have science with its focus on the material and analytical, capitalism with its focus on turning us into mindless consumers of more and more non-essential goods and orthodox religions with their dissociated dogmas all contributed to create a world that has lost its wonders? Have the pressures at work, the daily drivel in our mass media, the huge amount of information we have to digest and the constant bombardments with images, colours, noise and light taken its toll, left us no choice other than to dull our senses.
Overall, the answer to my question was ‘yes’. After searching through my memories and reflecting upon the stories I hear from clients and looking at the experiences of participants in my groups and workshops I came to the conclusion that we need to re-enchant ourselves and the world. Enchantment has something to do with our Souls. It nourishes them. It has something to do with experiencing that sense of wonder, that excitement and ‘connected being’ that eludes us more often than not in daily life.